Wednesday 27 October 2021

Cold As Hell by Lilja Sigurðardóttir BLOG TOUR @lilja1972 @OrendaBooks T.@graskeggur #ColdAsHell #AnÁroraInvestigation #BookReview #IcelandNoir


Icelandic sisters Áróra and Ísafold live in different countries and aren‘t on speaking terms, but when their mother loses contact with Ísafold, Áróra reluctantly returns to Iceland to find her sister. But she soon realizes that her sister isn’t avoiding her … she has disappeared, without trace. 

As she confronts Ísafold’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend Björn, and begins to probe her sister’s reclusive neighbours – who have their own reasons for staying out of sight – Áróra is led into an ever-darker web of intrigue and manipulation. 

Baffled by the conflicting details of her sister’s life, and blinded by the shiveringly bright midnight sun of the Icelandic summer, Áróra enlists the help of police officer Daníel, as she tries to track her sister’s movements, and begins to tail Björn – but she isn’t the only one watching…

Slick, tense, atmospheric and superbly plotted, Cold as Hell marks the start of a riveting, addictive new series from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.

Cold As Hell by Lilja Sigurðardóttir is published in paperback by Orenda Books on 28 October 2021 and is translated by Quentin Bates.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour 

It is always such a joy to begin a new book from a favourite author, and when that book is the start of a whole new series, it's even better. Cold As Hell is book one in the Áróra Investigation series and it's an absolute belter of a read. I am so excited about this new series.

Áróra and Ísafold are sisters, they are of mixed heritage, their mother is English and their father is from Iceland. Áróra lives in Edinburgh and works in financial investigation whilst Ísaford, the eldest, spends most of her time in Iceland. She's been in a relationship with Bjorn for quite a while now but Áróra has had to rescue her from his fists on more than one occasion in the past. 

When their mother calls to say that she's not heard from Ísaford for over two weeks, Áróra reluctantly agrees to fly to Iceland once more to see what has happened this time. The sisters have always had a fractious relationship, differing not only in appearance but also in temperament. In fact, Ísaford blocked Áróra on Facebook some time ago. 

What follows is a complex but thrilling tale that combines the missing person mystery with up-to-date relevant social issues. There's a cast of characters who range from the man who is repulsed by his own hair to the elderly lady who is trying to recapture motherhood, and they all have a link to Ísaford. However, none of them are willing to give away any information willingly and this clever author keeps her readers guessing and anticipating with every page. 

Told in short snappy chapters, along with snippets from the past, Cold As Hell is a book that screams Icelandic / Nordic Noir. Brilliantly translated by Quentin Bates, there's such a feel of Iceland about this one, from the sulphur smelling water that streams from the shower, to the dependency on the strongest coffee to get through the day, it's so authentic. 

Whilst Iceland may only be a small country, it certainly has an interesting recent history, especially around financial crime and fraud and Áróra's career in financial investigation is a fascinating way to explain this, like most crime though, there are links to other things and these are slowly uncovered as the story develops. 

Lilja Sigurdardóttir excels in character creation, especially strong female leads and Áróra is tremendous. She is quite enigmatic, not always pleasant, very focussed, but with a vulnerability that she does her best to hide. It is the little hints of her softer character that really endeared her to me, she's one of those people who have so much more to give and I think we readers are in for great things from this series. 

I loved this one, it could be my favourite from this author yet.  Highly recommended. 

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurðardóttir was born in the town of Akranes 
in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. 

An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, her English de
but shortlisting for the CWA International Dagger and hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Trap soon followed suit, with the third in the trilogy Cage winning the Best Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year, and was a Guardian Book of the Year. 

Lilja’s standalone Betrayal, was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. 

Lilja is also an award-winning screenwriter in her native Iceland. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Twitter @lilja1972

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